The High Court of Karnataka has rejected the bail plea of IAS officer J Manjunath who is in police custody in the Rs 5 lakh bribery case. Manjunath was the Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner (DC) when the alleged bribery incident happened in his office. He was arrested on July 4, just days after he was transferred from the post of Bengaluru DC.
The arrest came after observations of the High Court in the bail plea of a deputy tahsildar who was already in custody in the same case. Manjunath's bail plea before the special court was rejected on July 11 and he approached the single judge bench of the HC of Justice K Natarajan. The judgement was reserved on Monday and was pronounced on Wednesday. The copy of the judgement is, however, yet to be uploaded by the High Court and more details are awaited.
Former DC J Manjunath has been accused of conspiring with his personal assistant Mahesh and contract worker Chetan Kumar in accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakh and after investigation, circumstantial evidence was found against Manjunath. Earlier, the Karnataka High Court had pulled up the Karnataka Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) for laxity in probing Manjunath in the crime, after which Manjunath was named in the FIR. Later, the ACB moved the Supreme Court to strike down the remarks, and the Supreme Court had stayed the adverse remarks made by the Karnataka High Court’s Justice HP Sandesh.
Manjunath was arrested days after the judge Justice HP Sandesh, in the deputy tahsildar's bail petition, asked why senior officers were not charged in the case.
Manjunath was arrested on July 4 and his bail plea before the Special Court, hearing the case, was rejected on July 11. He approached the High Court where Justice K Natarajan heard the petition. The counsel on his behalf had argued that he was falsely implicated in the case after the High Court's comments by way of an additional report.
The deputy tahsildar working in the Deputy Commissioner's office and others are also accused in the case. The bribe was allegedly collected to give a favourable verdict in a land dispute.